January 14, 2009

And the "Smile Project" 2009 winner is . . . me

With Bren Bataclan, holding my prizes
at New York City's South Street Seaport

I wish I could say that I have been steadily Smiling at random, from Atlanta to Jerusalem with the Smile Project. In that post, I blogged on my pledge to do so after I spied, then plucked Bren's bright painting of a colorful, happy, whimsical creature atop a boulder in front of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta. Winning the 2009 award (for the best feedback entry) has pricked my conscience, triggering my pledge renewal.

A note taped below the painting read that for the mere pittance of a promise to smile at random people more often, and to send Bren feedback (guidelines here) on where I found it, the painting was . . . mine.

The next month, I brought it to my cousins in Jerusalem, spreading smiles across the ocean.

Feedback from Jerusalem to Boston
Teen cousin, Daniel (shown holding the painting), emailed Bren (through me) the requested feedback (in English, Daniel's second language after Hebrew).

Hi Tamar, How are you? I wrote a feedback [below] to Bren, the man that painted the cute thing... I just don’t know how this sweet creature named. I hope that it’s fine. (There are many words that I’m not sure if they need to be fixed...)

° ° °
"Dear Bren, I was amazed to see your lovely painting. In fact - he coused me to smile. I glad that there are people like you - carring other people like you - carring other people to be happier. — Daniel Zohar, דניאל זוהר"

Then, I invited Daniel to join in a brief Q&A.

Me: Where did you hang the painting?
Daniel: Over the shelf in the living room.

Me: Are you smiling at more people?
Daniel: Yes though I don't know if its because of the picture.

Me: Do others in your family smile at random more often?
Daniel: Same answer... and they express more joy.

Me: How old are you, and in what grade?
Daniel: 15 years old, in 10th grade.

The painting over the shelf in the living room

New friendships, worldwide
While finding the painting in Atlanta has been bringing smiles in Israel, finding it also launched my friendship with Philippine-born, U.S.A.-educated Bren, who began The Smile Boston Project in 2003, his street art project to brighten spirits worldwide.

After months' intense planning and detailed scheduling, last September, Bren (from Boston), I (from Atlanta and Tel Aviv), and Daniel's brother Dear Israeli Soldier, Dear Aviah (from Jerusalem) met in New York City to celebrate The Smile Project and the painting that linked us. (In the photo, an iPod classic with Belkin microphone attachment is capturing Bren's answers to our questions.)

Pay attention
Wherever you go, be alert. The Smile Project might be on your path — a painting and this invitation:


Jeff Green said...

I don't know whether it's easier to be in Israel now or abroad!
Thanks for sharing Karen's blog with us.
Thanks for reminding us to smile at each other.

Anonymous said...

Smiles, Tamar
From Tamar

Anonymous said...

So much fun. Thanks, Annette

Anonymous said...

And what a great smile you brought me this morning! Wonderful picture and blog!

Dror said...

Well, it was uplifting.

Madeline said...

This definitely made me smile! I remember when you first posted about this painting. What a wonderful project. You are so worthy of an award!

littlepurplecow said...

You make me smile in person and on the phone! The idea of exchanging paintings for smiles is a wonderful concept. Blessings to Bren for his generosity, and you for your smiles.

Bren said...

Love the new blog entry. I am so honored.

Miriam said...

mazal tov to you, it's something special to be able to smile at random, good for you.

Rurality said...

What a cool idea! It made me smile, long-distance. :)

The Benzvis said...

Your bright smile warmed our day here in frozen Efrat.
We are waiting for you to fulfil your threat and come over to shabbat as soon as you will finish hibernating in America.

We are feeling good and after reading part of your blog entries we can see that life are smiling to you too...

looking forward to see you soon.

Anonymous said...

A little bit of happy. Sweet.

Yehudith said...

Smiling is the best therapy.

I have heard that a man had cancer and the doctors gave him only a few months to live. So he decided that he will enjoy this time, and he took home only comedy movies and watched them most of the day and laughed a lot. After a few months he saw that he was "still" alive. He went to the doctor who looked at him and didn't believe — he looked so healthy. The doctor checked him and saw that he was completely clean.

When you smile the brain releases (I don't know how it's called) a material which helps the body to recover.

I read your blog, which is very interesting.
Thanks, love, Yehudith

JeSais said...

as i read this I am smiling :-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and I love the idea! I’m smiling too.

Anonymous said...

What a great photo of you with your million dollar smile, Tamar. After reading the blog I'm determined to smile more often at anyone within range.

Kate said...

Congratulations, Tamar. What a wonderful thing: both the idea from Bren and your wonderful follow-up and award. Yea!
I'm smiling as I type and will carry it on...